Which ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Alum Has the Highest Net Worth: Melissa Sue Anderson, Alison Arngrim, or Melissa Gilbert?
Little House on the Prairie was a top family drama during its run from 1974 to 1983. The historical drama often put the spotlight on young stars Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), and Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls), giving them each a claim to fame that remains to this day.
The three Little House alums went their separate ways after the show to pursue other projects. While each has had their own form of success, fans may wonder who holds the title for the biggest bank account.
Melissa Sue Anderson received an Emmy nomination for her ‘Little House’ role
Anderson was just 11 years old when she landed the role of Mary Ingalls. In season 4 of Little House, Anderson truly showed her acting chops when her character went blind. She received the first and only Emmy nomination of the cast in 1978. She received another Emmy nomination in 1979 for her role on the ABC Afterschool Special Which Mother is Mine? Anderson left Little House in 1981, revealing she became unhappy with her calamity-ridden storylines.
“It was very limiting, what you could or couldn’t do,” she said of the historical drama during a 2010 interview, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I used to say I was blind and boring. Either I was just there not doing much or going through some tragedy. I couldn’t take it anymore. It became too soap opera-ish.”
Anderson earned some other roles following Little House on the Prairie, but left Hollywood after heading to the altar in 1990 when she married writer-producer Michael Sloan. The Little House alum opted to be a stay-at-home mom when they welcomed daughter Piper in 1991, and son Griffin in 1996. The family moved to Montreal in 2002.
Anderson’s net worth is listed at $1.5 million.
Alison Arngrim didn’t have Nellie Oleson’s confidence
Playing the spoiled rich girl of Walnut Grove, Arngrim was sometimes seen as having a diva-like personality on set. Yet her standoffishness was due to her extreme shyness.
“I sometimes had trouble talking to ‘new people’ one on one,” Arngrim wrote in her book Confessions of a Prairie B*tch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated. “I was now faced with a cast and crew of over a hundred, some of them with rather intimidating personalities, to say the least – I had hoped I could just show up, do my job, and lay low, but it was not to be.”
Over time, with the help of pal and co-star Gilbert, Arngrim was able to let her guard down with her cast mates. While on Little House, Arngrim made guest appearances on TV shows including Love Boat and Fantasy Island. She went on to become an author and also delved into standup comedy.
Celebrity Net Worth ranks Arngrim at $400,000.
Melissa Gilbert took to the dance floor in 2012
After her career-making role as Laura Ingalls, Gilbert went on to appear in numerous television series and cable movies. In 1980, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role as Helen Keller in the TV film The Miracle Worker. In 2012, she joined Dancing With the Stars as a competitor matched with pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
“I cannot remember if I’ve ever been this tired in my life,” she wrote in an essay for People halfway through season 14. “The closest I’ve ever come to this kind of physical exhaustion is when my kids were newborns.”
Gilbert suffered a concussion during her DWTS stint, but was able to finish the competition in fifth place. The Little House star also served as Screen Actors Guild president from 2001 to 2005, deciding not to seek re-election. Her personal life included two divorces from actor Bo Brinkman in 1992 and Bruce Boxleitner in 2011. Gilbert married Thirtysomething star Timothy Busfield in 2013.
Gilbert’s net worth is listed at $500,000, making Anderson the Little House alum with the highest total.